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tv   Today in Washington  CSPAN  July 11, 2011 10:00am-12:00pm EDT

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pleasery that did not you as a viewer, but it is what we do each day. guest: the caller has a good point about obama's. on trade for political reasons. on trade forvot political reasons. all along it seemed that he was pro trade, but during the campaign he talked are renegotiating nafta, which cost a lot of panic in canada and so forth. -- caused a lot of panic in canada and so forth. i think he is trying to wrestle with the republican house majority. he is, like we said, tying it to trade. he has not quite a cave in on the accurate host: eric wasson,
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staff writer for the hill. thank you for your and we appreciate your time and input today. it will be back tomorrow morning at 7:00 a.m. for another edition of the "washington journal." we go to the national press club where congressman barney frank will be speaking. a look at the dog-franc reform bill. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011] >> please keep questions brief and to the point we can get in as many questions as possible. after the press has been affecting their questions, other audience members are welcome to rest there. congressman barney frank represents the fourth congressional district of massachusetts and he is also the ranking member of the house financial services committee. he helped pass the dodd-frank consumer protection act last year. welcome, congressman frank.
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>> thank you. those of you who cover the financial services committee might ask your editors for dual pay because you will also be covering the republican presidential campaign. for the first time in history, three declared republican presidential candidates set up and -- financial services committee, ron paul, thaddeus mccotter, and michelle bachmann. we have ever had three declared presidential candidates in one congressional committee before. on the financial reform bill -- i want to do this because it is one year. i want to begin by saying that i believed that the one-year study, examination, a study,
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criticism, leaves this legislation holding up very well. the republicans have had a number of hearings. there have been very few calls for any substantial amendment on the part of the financial services committee. one of the things that i thought people were pointing out as a criticism is a strength and that is the fact that what the bill does in many cases is to set forth some very important principles but gives the regulators the ability to apply them in practice. you cannot in 2010 decide for the indefinite future what certain specific numbers should be like capital ratios. secondly, to the extent when you legislate that you get very specific, you are inviting the people about whom you are
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legislating to rebate what you did. -- to evade what you did. people in the community were telling us to be more like england were the principles and not rules. we need -- we think you need rules it cannot legislate these very important questions. as people have come before the committee, they have talked about, with regard to taking into account international competitive factors with regard to imposing margin on end-users -- we were talking about an american subsidiary based in a foreign country and dealing with a non-american customer -- the regulators have the flexibility to deal with that. the volcker rule -- the regulators have a way to apply it that does good without doing harm. that is true in a number of other areas.
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the only issue where i saw people are unhappy and the banks was the amendment sponsored by former senator likened to push derivatives out of the bank. i thought was more important to have rules for derivatives wherever they were. i am struck by how little advocacy there has been for very substantial change. i think that things are moving well in the international front. when i was about to become chairman of this committee in 2006, we were being told we had to cut back substantially on american regulation because everybody would go to more welcoming jurisdictions. about a year-and-a-half later, the era of light touch
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regulation is over. we no longer have that and america is in the lead for pushing for an international set of standards which are better. some of our friends in europe understand that because there were european countries like germany where people did not make subprime loans. they just went bankrupt because other people did mainly in america. there is a degree of interconnection. by the way, we were told in 2008 by the bush appointees, ben bernanke and hank olson and others, that we were facing something as bad as the great depression. it could have been worse than the great depression because 80 years ago, there was a grad angularity to the economy. things could be going very bad in one place that they could be going good in another place.
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these are now interconnected. you will not get the same period. some of our friendly competitors underwent such turmoil themselves in last few years and are worse off than we are today because we have dealt with this stuff more forthrightly. in no longer have this -- many of your payment institutions are complaining loudly to the regulators that america is nicer in compensation. there are some legitimate issues that have to be addressed. imposing margin requirements on end users in other countries is one. some of the institutions sometimes found like a 14-year- old child of divorced parents trying to play money against a daddy. the regulators have been talking and i don't think we see any
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[unintelligible] that includes a capital surcharge for financially substantial institutions. when the republicans have a hearing on international competition, two industry witnesses, one representing a bank organization and one expert from harvard who has been a supporter of the phantom industry, both noted there was a potential competitive disadvantage for large american financial institutions because we are so firm in not allowing bailout. they noted that america has by far the strongest anti-public participation in bel alton locke and rules in the world. -- in and bail out -- in bailout rules in the world.
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we have heard of the gift that keeps on giving. this is the gift that people keep on refusing. unanimously, any institution about which there is any discretion as to whether or not it is designated as systemically importance has vehemently asked not to be. the notion that this somehow gives you a benefit -- apparently these people have become very self sacrificing. people do not want to be designated. i pointed this out to governor trullo at the federal reserve.
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we want to help get rid of the perception of too big to fail. lehman brothers is the only example of a major financial institution in a developed country that was allowed to fail. the evidence clearly puts this to rest the notion that we did not deal nottoo big to fail. there are a couple of areas where i see the attack coming. my republican colleagues, on like climate change and health care, don't want to take this one had on. it is still too popular. coming to the defense of unrestricted derivative trading is not a popular cause. they are coming at it sideways. they want to use the deficit as an excuse for under-funding the
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sec and cftc. they have a small percentage of what we're wasting trying to build infrastructure in afghanistan. the notion that the $90 million more that we need for the cftc because of the deficit is nonsense. they want to turn the sec into a profit center. you have a catch-22. first denied the sec and the cftc adequate funding. they in turn will not be able to deal with the rulemaking requirements that they have. because they have not been able to move as quickly on the rolls, the rules have to be abolished. that is something they have
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imposed. you want the sec and the cftc to have smart people and good information technology. this does not come from the financial institutions. got the rules,, you m will run.e the other problem we have is i have been disappointed in the appointments from the obama administration. we knew last august that the comptroller of the currency had to be appointed but they only now come up with tom curry. the failure of pointing -- appointing someone to the cftb.
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a bank manager was brutally rejected. he was a disrespectful person by the republicans and now they will confirm nobody to the cftb. the purpose was to give them independence and now want to subject them to the bank regulators before they will nominate anybody. that is an absolute perversion of the constitution. there is alleged legislative power and there was the confirmation power. announcing you will not use the confirmation power until you get by extortion is a perversion of the constitution. the final area that i am troubled by -- the single biggest cause of all this was the ability of people to make mortgage loans with neither regulation nor risk.
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we have dealt with that in substantial part. particularly the community banks get justifiably unhappy when they talk about other banks causing the problem. if only those institutions technically known as banks which get deposit insurance and are subject to regulations, if only they had made mortgage loans, we have not -- we would not have made the crisis. the couple of things happened with great sources of liquidity that allowed institutions that were essentially unregulated to make mortgage the worst of both worlds because you had banks setting up subsidiaries that were not subject to the full regulation that banks are subjected to. because there were affiliate's of national banks, there were not subject to state regulation either. you created a great vacuum. that was a bipartisan mistake
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because it was a clinton appointee who was the old over appointee as comptroller of the currency. the current controller is trying to maintain in contradiction to what the bill says. that is a thing that has to be corrected. people were able to make loans without regulations or rest period results for the problem under the consumer financial protection bureau which has jurisdiction over activity. we tried to regulate activity, not institutions. if you recollect by institution, an institution can change his shirt and avoid regulation. you now have regulations by activity whether it is derivatives or mortgages. the cfpb will now have rules for all mortgages.
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we have dealt with that. there is a second part of that and i believe that will be well done they will have the ability to put servicing requirements going for it. ward. with the best of rules in the world, if people don't have an incentive only to make good mortgages which can be repaid, you will have trouble. that's why risk retention was so important. i am troubled because there is an assault on risk retention. i agree that a 20% requirement for qualified vendor of mortgages is higher than it has to be. unfortunately, advocacy groups are involved in this, there is a subtle shift in which people have stopped objecting to what is involved in the qualified residential mortgage as an exception and they claim it
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should be the rule. there was a general notion that risk retention in mortgages is too burdensome. they say the combination of the rules and risk retention which -- will mean you cannot get a mortgage. there was testimony in the senate was in favor of legislation to allow securitization to go forward is from 1986. if you listen to these people, you have to wonder how we got any mortgages made before 1986. it securitization is essential to mortgages and risk free tastes -- retention ruins securitization, what were all these people doing before 1986? we want to put derivatives into clearinghouses and margins.
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risk retention in mortgages, these things are disrupted. it will be harder. it might cost us more. it is disrupted. yes, it is disrupted because we had to disrupt a rotten system. we have to disrupt a system which collapsed it collapsed because rest was made to appear or disappear. people were able to engage in activity in which they did not have any risk but rest did not go away. it accumulated elsewhere and exploded and rained on all of us. risk retention is an important piece of this. i was arguing with the mortgage bankers. they say they like risk retention. they actually don't like it much. they want to be able to sell securities that include some that meet the qualified mortgage resolutions and some that don't. they want risk retention to last
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only five years on 30-year mortgage packages. let me read a summary of what people say about this. no one disputes there were lending excesses' during the housing debacle. forbidding banks from signing of boris for overly expansive lawns, read -- requiring banks for having a reasonable ability to repay the loan, overly expensive loans. requiring that banks and securitized mortgages be made exclusively liable for the lending laws. this is what we are told about this set of regulations. this includes risk retention requirements and specific ban some types of mortgages.
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for all the demonizing, about 80% of subprime loans are being repaid on time and another 30% are being paid one month behind. far fewer of these loans will be done in the future. this will hit banks when their shareholders will be punished. the bill could not come at a worse time. it will mean fewer bar wars. this is a sarbanes oxley for housing. this is from a "wall street journal" editorial from 2007. they're talking about how well the subprime loans were performing. having that newspaper
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criticize this bill is like having "the news of the world" criticize people for not being respectful. there is an overwhelming consensus that securitization without risk retention which will never go down with taxation without representation -- that is a slogan, i understand that. [laughter] as a consensus, it is a problem. read michael lewis. it was the ability to make risk appear and disappear. it was to get it out of your sight. securitization was the technique that was utilized. there were dangers that might
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be in exchange traded funds. this has echoes of the subprime housing crisis in which financial innovation and out of control. it has a -- it had its origins -- the packaging of mortgages for use of securities for bonds is intended to disperse or risk. qualified residential mortgages not subject to risk retention are to be an exception, not the rule. the notion that you cannot have mortgages without securitization and you cannot have securitization if you don't have risk retention is completely wrong. before 1986, we had no securitization and it was a pretty healthy market. securitization is an important
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tool but the notion that people who are making these laws should retain a 5% interest in the loan as a guarantee against them making loans that don't have a chance to be repaid, that is an impediment. some say it is a problem if you have two kinds of loans. some are subject to risk for -- risk retention and some that are not. the notion that holding 5% of the loans -- before 1986, you held 100%. in the business they said they can't do that. they could not do that because of they don't -- because they don't have capital. don't lend money you don't have. this editorial says the subprime
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loans are wonderful and you will drive low-income people out of the market. iran to this again in the last decade and before. for many people in the lower income brackets, decent rental housing is preferable to putting them into a home ownership situation which is precarious. i worked in one area of home ownership. you have an assault on the bill. you have this effort to undermine the rules on derivatives. the republicans want to postpone any new derivatives regulation including speculation until october of 2012.
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several publications noted the fear that american financial institutions have sold credit defaults loss on greek cadets. debt. we don't know how much says. is. the spokesman for the republicans on this has been jack kingston. speculation has no impact on energy prices he says. there was a big argument about that by economists. it was a tough argument to make 20 years ago. information technology greatly increased liquidity have changed things. there is now a consensus within the financial pages and people talk about the impact of speculation. the republicans are trying to keep cftc from doing anything
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about speculation. those are head of the tax. there is a more subtle one which is the attack on risk retention. of think that is the single most important piece of this bill. when we used to say there was a problem, what was supposed to be the substitute for brisk presentation -- for risk retention was the rating agencies. you could go as the rating agency said there was no worry. the rating agencies are trying to overdo it. the people who told the subprime loans are good, the overseas ones are not good. that is one thing i wanted to address. it involves me in an argument
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with my liberal friends. like a downdon't pennon requirement. there are against the debt to income ratio. they say we should find out how much money the people are making to only make the loans. if it is not relevant what that income is to the debt, the value of the home is not relevant and you are securitized 100% of the risk, so what? on the question of risk retention, you can -- we now have no unregulated mortgage
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lenders and we have bent the law of the bad practices. there will be subjected to regulation. those conservatives who points out correctly that regulation can never completely replace the market should be advocating we do away with the one market incentive that is important here and that is risk retention. that is a market-based incentive. it says for someone to put their money on the line. i think there needs to be down to a requirement and risk retention -- loans made without risk retention should be an exception and not the rule. with that, i will be glad to responded to any questions or comments. >> it is the one-year anniversary of this bill passing. what are the three most
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important outcome stack? >> nobody ever lives his or her wife that way3 y. -- nobody ever lives their life that way. risk retention is important. derivatives and it was a combination. boulogne's made without any consideration -- the l oans made without any consideration of risk for the bullets and the derivatives were the guns. we made a bunch of loans that should not have been made in as sophisticated ways to spread those around the world and people got hurt.
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an independent consumer bureau is very important. those are the two most important systemically. in terms of public good, we never said the bill would be only to deal with the things in the crisis. the consumer bureau is an important innovation. another one is we have ended the bailout situation. republicans are arguing to the contrary. as a matter of fact, i will fall on this, the acting comptroller of the currency in the speech he gave which caused controversy -- one of the most controversial things did not get attention. i was reading it on the plane yesterday and he complains about the effect that we will not have publicly-funded bailout. he says in the next to last page of the speech that we need a banking system and there has to be a safety net and the public
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should be willing to pay for that. a former treasury aide just read an article complaining that we took away the federal reserve's power to do what it did with aig. we spend public money to take care of a financial institution. >> i wanted to remind you to state your name and organization before you ask a question. >> how is it that after dodd- frank passed, american financial
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authorities are contesting that they don't know the exposure that american financial institutions have to european banks? >> bulova is not come fully into effect. the law has not fully gone into effect. that will happen within the next few months. if they had been fully funded in february or march, we would be further along. they've got a lot of rules to do. if the republicans have their way, we will know before october 2012. that is precisely what the bill will do once it goes into effect.
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>> [inaudible] >> the people i represent in massachusetts bear the same share of the burden for whatever financial cost areas but they will not get much of the benefit. the most terrible price in america is the housing situation. to have no recognition in federal policy of variations in housing prices makes no sense. we want to bend luxury housing but if you don't havpay attentin to median home prices, you don't get it. some people say this a bad time from the stimulus standpoint.
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there were tet stories about getting houses at par below prices. the stories are now about how terrible it will be if they don't get a prize. this is a terrible time to cut back on housing. to treat the whole country as if it was one -- if the level is too low in one place you get in on fairness to those people. the same level cannot be right for the whole country. the federal government takes into consideration cost of living in some places. it would be a bad time economically to do that. it is also an equity matter. >> what hurdles do think the
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administration will have in appointing a new commissioner to the cftc and should there be a sense of urgency? >> absolutely, this has to do with speculation. the hurdle that he will encounter is the extra constitutional use of the filibuster. the notion that a majority in the senate is needed to pass a bill is 60. that is a very recent thing in american history. if you read the constitution, it clearly assumes that majority rule will govern in the senate. that is a principle but lawyers have. the existence -- the statement of an existing statement in --
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approves the rule. the rule says that if you say something as an exception which assumes the role -- if you say you can't do something on sunday, the assumption is you can do it every day of the week. if you read the constitution, there were several places where it says in the senate that you need more than a majority. you need to slash three to convict an impeachment. you need to slash three for a treaty -- you need 2/3 for an impeachment or a treaty. that means you need a majority of every other case. any court interpreting any law would say that they have now grafted onto this this requirement meant of 60.
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the republicans will use veto power because they do not like bill walz. the law. republicans will not confirm people. for them to object to the president is like a pyromaniac setting a fire and complained when people use the fire door. they created the emergency. the president has to respond to it. >> you say 20% for the cftb high. >> the hfa is probably real love. there are other factors. there could be a mix. i think we should have a minimum of four or 5 cents and take other things into account. 4%, some people could not buy
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houses. i would like to help people with their in come, not to pretend to have the income they don't have. we need to address this more. this will be important to me in terms of how we looked toward the debt. a minimum of 5% would be reasonable. >> should we just get rid of it all? there are people who argue -- the bill that came out of the house originally did not have an exception. people then try to bootstrap it and say it is a bad idea.
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they say there'll be a buy for carted market that would be unfair to poor people. i think we can live with a genuine exception. people are convinced an exception in a by park -- bifurcated market is serious, i am for no exceptions. i am prepared to accommodate an exception only if it is an exception. >> what do you think of the republican call in the house and said it -- and senate for pulling back the dodd-frank rules. ? dozens of deadlines have been missed.
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>> one year ago, we said as long as we're working on it, i am not happy that they're taking their time. if they had been fully funded in january by they would have had a supplement to remember -- $200 million within the context of the war in afghanistan and of arrest and -- and iraq. doing cost-benefit analysis is a good idea. you should not hold off on it. i would like to see benefit analysis out -- analysis of different things. it is a reasonable thing to do.
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as long as the cost includes the financial crisis and the terrible loss of revenue and jobs and turmoil. that is the cost. it was not a downpour's but it was a terrible crisis. >> there's been some criticism of not having enough clarity of a financial institutions. what is your view on that? as a related question, you
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talked about bail out to be over. are we really to believe that there would not be a bailout given this political situation today? on anyn't comment specific financial institution. when you get to be ranking member, you get to shut up some. i don't want to affect the markets. if you mean the kind of intervention that kept edgy going or that kept bear stearns alive and was sold, no, below is
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very clear. if any large financial institution whose demise would have broader consequences failed, that is when the death penalty -- the death panels, to place. that institution is deval. the shareholders will be wiped out. the executives would be fired and the mine have to pay back up to two-years of salary. the question for federal officials will be -- if you -- but none of it is debts, would that have affects that reverberated throughout the economy in a negative way? if so, the institution is in power under the law to pick and choose and pay as little as is necessary to avoid further damage. what hank paulson as for in the spring of 2008, had he predicted
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this was the case that he had a choice when lehman brothers and a i g -- as he read the law at the time -- you either pay all the debt or none of the debts. they paid none of the debts of lehman brothers and it paid all the debts for aig and it was neither situation was good. the fdic wanted to pay some of the debt, every penny of which must be recovered. and the federal official unless there was a change in the statute who advanced money to keep one of those institutions going would be committing a federal crime. the better reserve had the power to deal with aig.
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-- the federal reserve had the power to deal with the 80. they will now be able to set up a facility for institutions that are solvent but illiquid to collateralize with the liquid assets and have some liquidity. it has to be a facility that is available to a whole range of institutions. the comptroller of the currency says that the public must be willing to pay. there will not be any effort to keep a failed institution alive. >> my question is about the f- stock. >> there is a temporary an tsiness.
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we work hard to make sure the insurance company was still within a reasonable way. because of the historical accident mccarran-ferguson, no federal regulation, no federal officials concerned with insurance. i think that is very temporary. the size of the loan does not do it. we should be resolved and by the end of the year.
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>> none of the bills passed by the house special services committee this year have become law. what has been the impact on financial regulation. ? >> i think the biblical province is correct. as to who's been jawboning thit has been. the fcc and the cftc are underfunded. we were telling the administration they had to do a better job.
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one program they tried to repeal which is one of the ones i am proudest of is providing assistance to people who are having mortgage problems not because they may bore -- bed mortgage deals because they have been unemployed for a long time in this economy. if they want to repeal that. i wish hud had implemented a while ago. on the financial services committee, we have had a serious psychological phenomenon. apparently, there are cases were going from minority to majority has a severe effect on her memory. one year ago, the republicans know exactly what to do about betty mae and freddie mac.
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they offer the henerling bill. they were furious. that was over one year ago. the republicans know exactly what to do about any mae and freddie mac when they're in the, -- when there were in the majority. being in the majority has modeled their minds. one of the bills is up to 15 separate bills. the henserling bill has had no hearings. we have two others. the committee has been pretty effective. -- pretty ineffective. >> are you concerned that the 2012 election could make these bills less serious? i don't think they will win
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the house, the senate, and the presidency in 2012. i also believe they're more ready to do this because this is a case where they're not in the minority in the house. i don't think they are ready to pass a law that says the cftc cannot deal with speculation. toon't think they are ready abolish cftb. with fannie mae and freddie mac, they have the luxury of telling their ideological strongest supporters and abolishing fannie and freddie and letting it be toper market. the realtors and homebuilders a mortgage bankers and lenders know they cannot do that.
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they're still the guy in the bar swinging at someone bigger than he, confident and the knowledge that his friends are holding back. if the friends released him they became the majority in the house. they say obama will not let them do it. >> what do you hopefully the impact of the cftb when it starts? >> confirming this without a director is difficult. you cannot object and people go ahead and act that way but cannot object to a king day. i see in the opposition to the risk retention the problems. a good director of the cfpb will
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mean that a lot fewer bad mortgages will be issued like mortgages with a lower chance of postponements -- of payment. there are no-the facts that were predicted. i'd think you'll see consumers much better protected in that regard. you will also seek most of the financial institutions benefiting. the benefit because they are on regular is another will be regulated by the same rules that debt -- inform them. judgment has already been going out. the truth in lending act was assigned to federal jurors and the real estate protections act
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and the settlement procedures act was at hud and there was a total mixup. servicing requirements is very important. one of the things we did was to consolidate the requirement for servicing rules. that is the systemically importance. it reduces red tape and makes things work more frequently. >> you mentioned the push back from the ideological gop. where did you see the most push back from the financial industry? do you see any area where they're having influence over the regulators? >> the area in which they are doing the most is to put this
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into an international context. the torrance subsidiary of an american institution doing derivatives business with another foreign entity, a wholly foreign entity, and a situation in which the other people in the country do not have put requirement margins on. i think that is a reasonable issue. they are trying to make sure that they volcker rule is done in a way that does not harm. it is not either archive it is more or less. we are banning the purpose of the activity and that can be tricky. beyond that, those are the two major ones that i have seen. there was a third one which is
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the one that confirms we have finished about a large rise less digits. some people automatically be more systemically importance. goldman sachs and wells fargo and bank of america -- you have others like insurance companies neutral funds in any institution in which there is some ambiguity as to whether there systemically important, we have one hearing with nine regulators. did any ed -- delay body as to be covered? no. it proves that be named systemically important is not an advantage or a licence to get proper funds as much as it is to the district. that does not mean all these
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negroes were built of the same. >> [inaudible] >> they want to keep doing what paul volcker did not want them to do. the activities volcker rule tells them not to do are things they can do. sometimes they do it for a customer. there has to be a certain margin for liquidity itself. they want to look at the amount they were doing. nobody thinks the law has to be changed to accommodate that.
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we negotiated that in the conference. people understand that the statute gives the regulators the ability to do things. >> you mentioned a couple lots of international influence. could you speak about that? >> the british are now talking about a resolution regime that looks a lot like ours. we're hoping that our resolution received is the model. on derivatives, there are examples where america has moved ahead but in a way that we think other people will join. there are examples where you will see this. i was interested in the article in " the new york times." european union will have now have a union-consumer law.
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in the resolution regime one of the things you have to do is what happens with a resolution at multinational financial institutions. the general rule is that the host country will have the right to have its rules prevail if an american institution has to be resolved -- dissolved. to dissolveing american institution, the foreign branches of the covered by the board of law and vice versa. that's the work of a hasselbeck, an accommodation. it will not be all that easy. america is in the forefront.
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we are the first nation to say that if you get in trouble, you are dead. we will then worry yourmess and we may have to minimize it. if the costs of any money, it is coming from your money, not the taxpayer. we think that model is attractive. derivatives are all transactions. there is a huge difference in five years. when i became the chairman in 2006, there is this consent that all the ipos are going overseas. mayor bloomberg was concerned. there was this notion that other countries could benefit by attracting and our financial services. and then the bottom fell out. some of these other countries were badly damaged by practices that have happened in america. german banks were badly hit
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because of hits to the american mortgage market. my choice in public policy has been more domestic. we're still trying to cut york -- defense spending but over the last four years, i have done a lot of international stuff working with the eu and all the rest. by lastthings have shifted grady from countries thinking how to lure others in from, i can work together so no one else gets hit with this. it is moving forward. there is a lot of conversation. >> you talk about appointments to the other three insurance-
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related positions. another director of the federal insurance office took office last month in the third appointee was just nominated this month. do you see any concerns with how they can approach insurance- related issues. >> as i said, the question was, "was a word about them taking too much time?" i asked them to slow down until they had an insurance rep. they should be feeling good because of the three appointees, all have been state insurance commissioners. by the way, on the executive from a jury -- missouri, i agree with him.
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he said he had been restricted to much in what he can share with his colleagues. i said at the hearing that i thought they were being too restrictive there. now we have three great appointees. i would hope that would be one of the least controversial appointees. i would hope he would get confirmed right away as a voting member. and with the administration would move faster. i wish a could eat more and not gain weight. i wish for a lot of things. in this case, no harm, no foul. no decisions were made in the absence of those appointees. there was a massive change in behavior and was destructive. . yes, we set out to disrupt the financial model that had been disruptive. no one has pointed to any great problems. this is a market in the derivatives area where putting
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things are in exchange is pro- market. we do not have price-fixing here. all that is moving forward. there is a lot to be done at once which is complicated by the fact that they were not well funded and the appointment process was so slow. when a nobel-prize winning economist and are brutally rejected by the senate, that is part of the reason for the slowdown in the process. much of the blame goes to the senate confirmation process, but to go back to your question, on they have appointed three in the insurance area, and no bad things have happened as a result of the delay, and i think it will go forward. >> thank you, everyone. we have gone over time. i hope you have had your questions answered and thank you for coming. [captioning performed by national captioning institute]
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[captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011]
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>> more than 200 provisions of the financial regulation law have yet to be enacted according to "the wall street journal." president obama is holding, coming up any minute now, scheduled to have started at 11:00 a.m. eastern, but the president is suggesting $4 trillion in cuts over 10 years.
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republicans, including the house speaker, are looking at a smaller deal, it in the $2 trillion range. we can see the reporters from cable networks delivering their reports. also, there will be a meeting at 2:00 p.m. eastern between the president and congressional lawmakers as they continue negotiations.
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>> expecting president obama in the briefing room to talk about the debt talks. right now, this morning party "washington journal" about the negotiations. what is your message today?
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mr. hawkins, good morning. thank you for joining us. everything has been casual, from what we can see. but we heard that things turned rather testy quickly. can you give us a sense of what happened last night? >> what is important to remember is that what happened last night is the president continued to try to press ahead with his call for the so-called grand bargain. a 10 year, $4 trillion deficit reduction plan that would be matched with an increased amount of borrowing power for the government. the president was met with resistance. the last time that he pressed for it, everyone in the room was going for it except for eric cantor and jon kyl.
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this time the crowd of opponents was bigger but one important person, john boehner. the important thing to remember here is scaling back from $4 trillion to 2.5 trillion does not make any of the big issues go away. sooner or later republicans are going to have to swallow some revenue increases. host: what is the purpose of today's news conference from the president? caller: the purpose for the president is to set a delicate balance. on the one hand he wants to claim the political high ground, i assume, saying that he tried and pushed for historic bipartisan achievement. unfortunately, we will like it there. the reason is that republicans will not sign on to a bold, $1
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trillion tax overhaul. so, he wants to show the voters that he is the big negotiator. everything that he said the revlon in 2008. but he does not want to poison the well to make these negotiations for the rest of the week. >> what is the main message coming from republicans going into this meeting? >> it would seem that their main message is probably going to stay the same period that we are for a big deal, but not a big tax increase. or any tax increase. once again they will be challenged to expand on this sharp rhetorical edge.
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id is a distinction without much of a difference. a few close a tax loophole, it raises the taxes for someone. pretty much any change in the tax code that raises revenue could be portrayed by the people that have to pay the additional revenue. it is a very difficult dance. the speaker keeps talking about no new taxes on the american people. this seems to give him an opening to talk about revenues and businesses, like the corporate tax loophole that we heard about in the last few days. host: do we have any more details on the parameters of this meeting? what can you tell us? >> i have not seen anything coming across my blackberry this morning.
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host: same here. caller: i imagine it will obviously be after the news conference last night they talked about a willingness to meet. not only today, but every day until they get a deal. whether or not it will be that eight top congressional leaders, or if it will become a smaller group, none of that is clear as i talk to you right now. it will likely become clearer after i get a full night's sleep. host: any deal would have to be vetted with the rank and file. give us an idea of the conditions within each body and within each party. caller: this is one of the reasons that the talks collapsed
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over the weekend. the speaker realize, ahead of the president, that he could not get such a big deal through the republican-led house. they have talked about meeting a handshake by the end of this week to get the bill written the parliamentary machen nations that lie ahead for -- written by the end of this week. the parliamentary machinations that lie ahead for it. many of these men and women elected with tea party >> we now go live to the white house briefing room with president obama. >> i want to give an update on the debt negotiations, provide my perspective, then taking questions. as all of you know, i met with congressional leaders yesterday. we will be meeting again today.
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and we will meet every day until we get this resolved. the good news is that all the leaders continue to believe, rightly, that is not acceptable for us not to raise the debt ceiling. also to allow the government to default. we cannot threaten the united states credit for the first time in our history. we still have a lot of work to do to get this problem solved. let me just make a couple of points. first of all, all of us agree that we should use this opportunity to do something meaningful on debt and deficit. the reports out there have been largely accurate that speaker boehner and myself have been in a series of conversations about doing the biggest deal possible
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so that we can resolve our debt and deficit challenges for a long stretch of time. i want to say that i appreciate speaker boehner's good faith efforts on that front. what i emphasize to the broader group of congressional leaders yesterday is that now is the time to deal with these issues. if not now, when? i have been hearing from our republican friends for quite some time that it is a moral imperative and for us to tackle our debt and deficit in a serious way. i have heard from them that this is one of the things creating uncertainty in holding back investment on behalf of the business community. what i said to them is, "let's go." it is possible for us to construct a package that would be balanced, share sacrifice,
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involve both parties taking on at their sacred cows, would involve some meaningful changes to medicare, social security, and medicaid that would preserve the integrity of the programs and keep our sacred trust with our seniors while making sure those programs are therefore not just this generation but the next. it is possible for us to bring in revenues in a way that does not impede our current recovery but is fair and balanced. we have agreed to a series of spending cuts that will make the government leaner, meaner, more effective, more efficient, and give taxpayers a greater bang for their buck which includes defense spending, health spending, some programs that i like very much. but it would be nice to have them, but we cannot afford them
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right now. if you look at the overall package, we could achieve a situation in which our deficits are unmanageable level and our debt levels are stabilized. the economy, as a whole, i think, would benefit from that. moreover, i think it would give the american people enormous confidence that this town can actually do something once in a while. that we can defied expectations that are thinking in short-term politics and the next election and every once in awhile we can break out of that and do what is right for the country. i continue to push congressional leaders for the largest possible deal. there will be resistance. there is, frankly, resistance on my side to do anything on entitlements. there's strong resistance on the
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republican side to do anything on revenues. if east -- if each side wants 100% of what its ideological positions are, then we cannot get anything done. i think the american people want to see something done. they feel a sense of urgency, but about the breakdown in our political process and also about the situation of our economy. what i have said to the leaders is bring back to me ideas that you think can get the necessary number of votes in the house and senate. i'm happy to consider all options come alternatives that they're looking at. the things that will not consider are a 30-day or a 60- day or a 90-day or a 100-80 day temporary stopgap resolution to
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this problem. this is the united states of america. we do not manage our affairs in three-month increments. we do not risk u.s. the fault on our obligations -- default on our obligations because we cannot put politics aside. i have been clear. we will resolve this. we will resolve this for a reasonable period of time and we will resolve this in a serious way. my hope is that as a consequence of the negotiation of today, tomorrow, the next day, and through next weekend if necessary that we will come up with a plan that solves the short-term debt and deficit problems, avoids the fault, stabilizes the economy, and proves to the american people that we can actually get things done in this country and in this
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town. with that, i will take you questions starting with matt miller. >> given that you are running out of time, can you explain what your plans are if republicans continue to oppose? secondly, on your point about north shirt -- no short term stop gaps, would you veto? >> i would not sign it. that is not an acceptable approach. if you think it is hard now, imagine how these guys will be feeling six months from now in the middle of the election season when they are all up. it will not get any easier. it will be harder. we might as well do it now. call off a band-aid.
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-- pull off the band-aid. eat your peas. if not now, when? we keep on talking about this stuff and we have these high- minded pronouncements about how we have to get control of the deficit and how we owe it to our children and grandchildren. well, step up. what's do it. i am prepared to do it. i am prepared to take on a significant heat from my party to get something done. i expect that the others tried should be willing to do the same thing -- the other side should be willing if they mean that this is important. let me comment on the issue of tax increases because there has been a lot of information floating around. i want to be crystal clear. nobody has talked about increasing taxes. no one has talked about increasing taxes next year.
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what we have talked about is that starting in 2013 that we have gotten rid of some of these egregious loopholes that benefit corporate jet owners or oil companies at a time when they are making billions of dollars in profits. as a part of a broader package, we should have revenues in the best place to get those revenues are from people like me who have been extraordinarily fortunate and millionaires and billionaires can afford to pay a little bit more, going back to the bush tax rates. what i have also said republicans is if you do not like that formulation and then i am happy to work with you on tax reform that could potentially lower everyone's rates and broaden the base as long as that package was sufficiently progressive so that we were not
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balancing the budget on the back of the middle-class and working- class families and we would not let hedge fund managers or the authors of best-selling books off the hook. that is a reasonable proposition. when you hear people saying, "the president should not want massive job killing tax increases when the economy is this week," no one is looking to raise taxes right now. we are talking about potentially 2013 and the out years. in fact, the and the proposition now they're about raising taxes next year would be if we do not renew the payroll tax cut that we passed in december. i am in favor of renewing it for next year as well, but there are some republicans to say that we may not renew it. if we do not renew that, then the $1,000 going to a typical american family this year as a consequence of the tax cuts i
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worked with republicans to pass in december will lapse. that could weaken the economy. i have bent over backwards to work with republicans to try and come up with a formulation that does not require them to vote sometime in the next month to increase taxes. what i have said it is a let's identify revenue package that makes sense, commensurate with deep sacrifices we are asking others to make it, and i am happy to work with you to figure out how else we may do this. i do not see a path to a deal if they do not budge period. is the basic proposition is it, "my way or the highway," then we will not get anything done because we have a divided government. democrats are controlling the senate.
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we will probably needed democratic vote in the house for anything that could possibly pass. if, in fact, much mcconnell and john boehner are sincere in not wanting to see america default, they have to compromise just as i have shown myself willing to compromise. chip. >> mr. president, you said everyone in the room is willing to do what they have to do and wants to get something done by august 2nd. it is the problem the people who are not in the room and republican t party -- tea part iers and 2012 candidates. 69% of americans oppose raising the debt limit. is the problem that you and others have failed to convince
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people that we have a crisis? >> let me but distinguish between professional politicians and the public at large. the public is not paying close attention to the in's and out's , a treasury auction. they should not. they worry about their family, their jobs, their neighborhood. they have a lot of other things on their plate. we are paid to worry about this. i think, depending on how you phrase the question, if you ask the the american people, "is it is a good idea for the united states not to pay its bills and potentially create another recession that could throw millions of more people lot of work?" i feel confident i could get a majority on my side. that is a fact. if we do not raise the debt ceiling and we see a crisis of
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confidence in the market and suddenly interest rates are going up significantly, and everyone is paying higher interest rates on their car loans, mortgages, credit cards. that will suck up extra money, i will guarantee you that they will not like it. i will say some professional politicians know better. for them to say that we should not be raising the debt ceiling is irresponsible. they know better. this is not something that i am making up a. this is not something that timothy geithner is making up. we are not out here trying to use this as a means of doing all these really tough political things. i would rather be talking about
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stuff that everyone welcomes like new programs resolving the nfl lockout. unfortunately, this is on our plate before us right now and we have to deal with it. what you are right about, i think, is that the leaders in the room here, at a certain point, have to step up and do the right thing regardless of the voices in our respective parties that are trying to undermine that effort. i have a stake in john boehner successfully persuading his caucus that this is the right thing to do just like he has a stake in seeing me persuading the democratic party that we should take on these problems. >> do you think he will come back to the $4 trillion bill?
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>> john boehner is sincere about doing something big. i think he would like to. politics within his party are very difficult. you are right. this is part of the problem with a political process where people are rewarded for saying irresponsible things to win elections or achieve short-term political gains when we are in a position to try and do something hard. we have not always laid the groundwork for it. i think that it will take some work on his side. look. it will also take work on our side in order to get this thing done. the vast majority of democrats on capitol hill would prefer not having to do anything on entitlements, prefer not having to do anything on these debt and
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deficit problems. i am sympathetic because they are looking after people who are already hurting and vulnerable. there are families out there, and seniors, who are dependent on these programs. what i try to explain to them is, number one, if you look at the numbers at medicare in particular, they will run out of money and we will not be able to sustain that program no matter how much taxes would go up. it is not an option for us to sit by and do nothing. if you are a progressive who cares about the integrity of social security, medicaid, medicare, and believes that it is a part of what makes our country great, that we look after our seniors and the most bone role -- most vulnerable, we have an obligation to make sure we make the changes to make us more sustainable over the long
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term. if you are part -- are a progressive that cares about student loan programs, medical research, infrastructure, we cannot make progress in those areas if we do not have our fiscal house in order. the argument i make to my party is the values we care about, making sure that everyone has a shot at the american dream and everyone is out there with the opportunity to succeed if they work hard and live irresponsible life and that government has a role to play in providing them some of the opportunity for things like student loans, making sure that the roads, highways, and airports function, make sure that we invest in research and development for the high-tech jobs of the future. if you care about those things, then you have to be interested in figuring out how we pay for it in a responsible way.
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yes, we will have a sales job. this is not pleasant. it is hard to persuade people to do hard stuff. it entails trimming benefits and increasing revenues. the reason we have a problem right now is because people keep on avoiding hard things. now is the time for us to take it on. next question. >> you talk about balance and shared sacrifice, but in the $4 trillion deal, we are now at about four to one spending in taxes. that does not seem fair to some democrats. i was wondering if you could talk about why we are at that level. i was wondering if you could clarify your social security position. will any of that money go toward the deficit as opposed to back in the system? >> with respect to social security, it is not the source
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of our deficit problems. social security is a part of a package and it would be an issue of how do we make sure social security extends its life and is strengthened? the reason to do social security is to strengthen it to make sure those benefits are there for seniors in the out years. the reason we include that potentially in the package is if you're going to take a bunch of tough votes, you might as well do it now. as opposed to try to muster up the political will to get something done further in the future. with respect to a balanced package, is the package we are talking about exactly what i would want? no. i might want more revenues and
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fewer cuts to programs that benefit middle-class families that are trying to send their kids to college or benefit all of us because we are investing more in medical research. i make no claims that the position speaker bonner and i have discussed reflects 100% of what i want. that is the point. my point is that i am willing to move in their direction in order to get something done. that is what compromise entails. we have a system of government in which everyone has to give a little bit. now, what i will say is the revenue components that we have discussed would be significant and would target people who can most afford it. if we do not do any revenue, because you may hear the argument, "why not just go ahead
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and make all of the cuts and we can debate the revenue issue in the election." you will hear that from some republicans. the problem with that is if you do not do the revenue, then to get the same amount of savings you have to have more cuts which means it is seniors, or poor kids, or medical research, or our infrastructure that will suffer. i do not want, and i will not accept come a deal in which i am asked to do nothing. in fact, i am able to keep hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional income, that i do not need while a parent out
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there who is struggling how to send their kid to college suddenly finds that they have $80,000 less in grants for student loans. that is what the revenue debate is about. it is not because i want to raise revenues for the sake of raising revenues or i have some grand ambition to create a bigger government. it is because if we are actually going to solve the problem, there are a finite number of ways to do it. if you do not have revenues come in means you're putting more of a burden on the people who can least afford it. that is not fair. i think the american people agree with me on that. sam. >> with unemployment at 9.2%, is now a good time to cut trillions of dollars in spending? what do say to members of an your arm party who say
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[inaudible] >> our biggest priority, as an administration, is to get the economy back on track and get people back to work. without re-litigating the past, i am convinced, and a vast majority of economists are convinced, the steps we took in the recovery act saved millions of people their jobs are created a whole bunch of jobs. as you see what happens with the recovery act phasing out, when i came into office and budget were hemorrhaging at the state level, part of the recovery act was giving states help so they would not have to lay off teachers, police officers, or firefighters. we have seen federal support for states diminish.
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you have seen the biggest job losses in the public sector, teachers, police officers, firefighters, all losing their jobs. my strong preference would be for us to the euro ways in which we can continue to provide help across the board, but i am operating within some political constraints here. whenever i do have to go to the house of representatives. what that means, then, is that among the options available to us is, for example, the payroll tax cut. that might not be exactly the kind of program that i would it designed in order to boost employment, but it does make a difference because it puts money in the pockets of people who are then spending at businesses, large and small, which gives them more customers come increases demand, and gives business is a greater incentive to hire.
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that would be, for example, a component of this overall package. on employment benefits. again, it puts money in the pockets of people who are out there knocking on doors trying to find a job every day giving them those resources which puts more money into the economy which, potentially, improves the climate for businesses to want to hire. so, as part of a component of a deal, it is very important for us to look at what are the steps we can take short term in order to put people back to work. i am not someone who believes just because we solve the debt and deficit problems short-term, medium-term, or long term that it automatically fixes on employment. we still need to do a bunch of things including trade deals before congress right now that could add tens of thousands of jobs. republicans gave me a list at
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the beginning of this year as a priority of something they felt they could do. now i am ready to do it. so far, we have not gotten the kind of movement that i would have expected. we have the potential to create an infrastructure bank to put construction workers to work right now rebuilding our roads, bridges, and vital infrastructure all across the country. those are still areas where i think we can make enormous progress. i do think that if the country as a whole sees washington act responsibly, compromise is being made, the deficit and debt being dealt with for 10, 15, 20 years that it will help with business is feeling more confident about aggressively investing in this country, foreign investors
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saying america has its act together and are willing to invest. it can have a positive impact in overall growth and employment. it is not the only solution. we still need to have a strong jobs agenda, but it is part of a solution. i might add that it is the primary solution republicans have offered when it comes to jobs. they keep on going out there and saying, "mr. president, what are you doing about jobs?" you ask them what you should do. they say, "we need to get government spending under control, deficit under control." i say, "okay. let's go." where are they? this is what they claim would be the single biggest boost to businesses gaining confidence, so what is the holdup? with respect to social
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security, as i indicated earlier, making changes to these programs is so difficult that this may be an opportunity for us to go ahead and do something smart in structuring social security that gives this generation and future generations the opportunity to say that good things will be there for the long haul. now, that may not be possible, and you are absolutely right. social security is not the primary driver of our long-term deficits and debt. on the other hand, we want to make sure that social security will be there for the next generations. if there is a reasonable deal to be had, it is one that i am willing to pursue. [inaudible] >> i will not get into the details right now, sam, of the
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negotiations. i may enjoy negotiating with the year, but i do not know how much juice you have in the republican congress. [laughter] that is what i think. leslie clark. >> you say that economists have agreed that a deal needs to be made. have you worked with u.s. business leaders of all to lobby congress to raise the debt ceiling? if so, who are you talking to? >> i have spoken extensively to business leaders. i will be honest with you. i think business leaders, in the abstract, want to see a resolution to this problem. what i have found is that they are somewhat hesitant to weigh in on these issues even if they are willing to say something privately to me because they have a whole bunch of business spending before congress.
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they do not want to make anybody mad. this is a problem of our politics and our politicians, but it is not exclusively problem of politics. the business community is a lot like everybody else. we want to cut everyone else's stuff and keep our stuff. we want to keep our taxes, but if you want to raise revenue on some else's taxes, that is ok. that kind of mind-set is why we never get the problem solved. there have been business leaders, like warren buffett, who has spoken out forcefully on this issue. some of the people who participated in the bowles- simpson commission made clear they would approve a balanced approach even if it meant for them, individually, that they would see height -- higher
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taxes. the average ceo sought a 23% raise this past year while the average worker saw a 0% to 1% raise. there are a lot of well-meaning business leaders to recognize the lead -- the need to make something happen. i think they have been hesitant to be as straightforward as i would like. it means we have some spending cuts. it means we have some increased revenue. it means that we are taking on some of the drivers of our long- term debt and deficits. >> can you say, as the clock ticks down, whether the administration is working on any plans? >> we will get this done by august 2nd.
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george? >> to follow up on chip's question, you say that the speaker has to face tough politics in his caucus. do you think he can follow through with the votes in his caucus? >> that is a question for the speaker and not for me. my experience with john boehner is good. he is a good man who wants to do right by the country. as chip alluded to, the politics that swept him in to his good for thewere midterm election that are tough for governing. part of what the republican congress generally needs to realize is that american democracy works when people listen to each other, are
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willing to give each other the benefit of the dow, assume the patriotism, good intentions of the other side, and we are willing to make some sensible compromises. i think there are members of that caucus who have not yet fully arrived at that realization. >> your confidence was not shaken by him walking away from the big deal? >> these things are a tough process. look. in fairness, a big deal would require a lot of work on the leaders like harry reid and pelosi to get the votes. if everyone gets in at the same time, it would to over. that is bob dole's famous comment about striking a deal with mr. president and newt
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gingrich in the 1990's. last question. >> mr. president, i want to revisit sacrifice. in 2009, [inaudible] you said we have not seen the worst yet. with budget cuts looming, you have minorities, the elderly, as well as people looking for jobs. what do you say about the debt free america act? are you supporting the republican bill which is modified after [inaudible] >> let me speak to the broader
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point you are asking about, april. this recession has been hard on everybody. obviously, it is harder on those who have lost. -- who have less. the thing that i am obsessed with, and have been since i came into office, is all of the families out there who are doing the right thing every single day who were looking after their families, who are struggling to keep up, and they feel like they are falling behind in a matter how hard they worked. i've got a letter this past week from a woman whose husband had lost his job and had pounded the pavement and finally found a job and it felt like things were
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stabilizing for a few months. six months later, he lost that job and now they are out there looking again and try to figure out how to make ends meet. there are just hundreds of thousands of people out there who really have seen as tough an economy as we have seen in our lifetimes. now, we took very aggressive steps i first came into office to get the economy out of a potential great depression to stabilize. we were largely successful in stabilizing, but we stabilize it at a level where unemployment is still too high and the economy is not growing fast enough to make up for all the jobs that were lost before it took office and from a few months after it took office. this unemployment rate has been
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stuck. there are a few ways we can solve it. one is to make sure that the overall economy is growing. we've continued to take a series of steps to make sure that there's money in people's pockets that they can go out and spend which is what the payroll tax cuts were about. we wanted to take steps to major businesses were willing to invest, which is the small business tax cut. some of the tax cuts for companies willing to invest in plants, equipment, zero gains for small businesses. it was all about getting businesses more incentive to invest. we have worked to make sure that the training programs that are other people -- are there for people having to shift so they can get the training for the jobs that do exist are improved and sharpened. we put forward a series of proposals to make sure that
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regulations that may be unnecessary and are hampering some businesses from investing, but we are examining all of those for cost and benefit if they're not providing the kind of benefit, in terms of public health, clean air, clean water, and worker safety that was promised that we should get rid of those regulations. we have been looking at the whole menu of steps that could be taken. we are now in a situation where, because the economy has moved slower than we wanted, because of the deficits that resulted from the recession and the crisis, that taking an approach that costs trillions of dollars is not an option. we do not have that kind of money right now. what we can do is to solve this
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underlying debt and deficit problem for a long period of time so we can get back to having a discussion. that will be no longer what is hampering economic growth, it is not feeding business uncertainty. everybody feels that the ground is stable under their feet. are there some strategies that we could pursue that would really focus on targeted job growth? infrastructure is a primary example. the infrastructure bank we have proposed is relatively small. could we imagine a project where we are rebuilding roads, bridges, forts, schools, broadband lines, smart grids, and taking all those construction workers and putting them to work right now?
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i can imagine a very aggressive program that i think the american people would rally around and it would be good for the economy, not just next year or the year after but for the next 20-30 years. we cannot even have a conversation of people feel we cannot have our fiscal house in order. the idea here is let's act now, let's get this problem off of the table, and then with firm footing and a solid fiscal situation and we would then be in a position to make the kind of investment that i think will be necessary to win the future. this is not a right or left, conservative or liberal situation. this is a how we operate in a smart way, understanding we have short and long-term challenges, if we can solve the long-term challenge is to free up some of our energies to deal with the
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short-term ones, as well. all right? thank you very much, everybody. >> we want to hear from you about what president obama said here at this news conference. still pushing for a larger deficit reduction package. reportedly, $4 trillion in the deficit reduction over 10 years. republican speaker banner -- boehner says he is looking at a smaller $2 trillion bill. the numbers are on your screen. going straight to your calls. a democrat from maine. hello? caller: yes. i would like to know all of the years, all the money borrowed
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from social security for other programs. why is that not being considered as a debt to be repaid? host: that is a good question for negotiators. up next, veronica from california. caller: france still owes us money from years ago. if we pull our troops out now from iraq, that would be a big cost to be saved and not wait until next year. why does it have to be next year? i am hearing about all of these prisons that are so overcrowded. alcatraz it should be reopened again. i just had $116 cut from my social security. it is now $616. host: you are a republican, and i want to hear what you think
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about this. nottico writes boehner's wanting to go big is a sign of his limit of power,. ♪ caller: --- caller: better to go small than all at once. 71 police officers are gone from san jose. it will become like richland and oakland. more drugs, more crime. my son-in-law lost his job as a teacher. host: paul, an independent from massachusetts. caller: there is one glaring question that no one seems to want to tackle.
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the reason the public is so upset about what is going on in washington is that all of the people there have failed to bring up the most important question. when will they make a question -- strengthen social security by taking all public workers and putting them into the system? when will and they erased the magnificent debt that has been created in local communities and states across the country when we have to fund the pensions of workers who can retire at 55 or 60? they need to raise the retirement age for the state, federal, and local workers who are retiring while they are still young and put them all into social security to strengthen the system by getting more revenue. lastly, i listened to your program this morning to barney frank and is a ranking member of the finance committee for massachusetts. the country will not get back on its feet unless we pass a national cap on interest rates to credit cards.
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it is a national shame that instead of capping the rate at 18%, legislation has been put in four banks, who got the biggest bailout in history, to raise interest rates to 29%. host: one more call before we go to the house live at noon. john from green lake, wisconsin. caller: good afternoon. thank you for c-span. i am on struck by the 44th president and the rest of the leaders in washington to put their fingers to the bone on these negotiations. thank you for free speech in america. let's recall scott walker. host: we will end our calls there. the house is coming in just a few minutes. congressional leaders meet again today with the president on debt at 2:00 p.m. eastern. the


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